3 Easy Ways to Eat Well

Like most people my life gets busier as I get older, and more demanding of my time. Well I had to get creative with food ideas and meal planning if I wanted to continue to eat healthy food and not go back to grabbing easy food that has been chemically altered so I can make it in a micro wave.

1. Most of us have a Rice Cooker or Crock Pot in a cupboard somewhere collecting dust and being neglected. Break it out, clean it off and read the instructions. You will see that you can make delicious and healthy meals without being in the kitchen for more than ten minutes.

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2. Food purchases that are healthy and don’t require a lot of work. There are a lot of fresh foods that require little or no prep time and can be cooked or eaten raw. Raw Vegetables as snacks are delicious, fruit will give you energy and I like to have an after work snack to get my energy levels up so I can keep going without a nap. (Naps are important at my age).

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3. Left overs. Like most men I live on leftovers because I don’t have time to cook and lets face it, some things taste better the second day. So when you do cook , cook for several days.

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You can alleviate a lot of food anxiety by using these easy methods for keeping your diet on track .

 

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Diet for Exercise

Exercise will only do so much-you have to change what you eat in order to help your body build healthy muscle and reduce body fat, while not giving up nutrients and energy. Sound impossible? Well, if you listen to the large corporate food companies that specialize in processed food, it is. The food you put into your body has a immediate as well as cumulative affect on your body. Yes,food does both. Think about it-a cheese burger will fill you and make you feel full, but long term, the saturated fats and cholesterol will accumulate in your body, and continued exposure to these types of food can have negative affects on your overall health.

So if you can build a negative affect over time, shouldn’t the opposite be true? Of course it is. I know healthy food is expensive, but so are medical bills for heart by-passes and cancer treatments. Not to mention medications for high blood pressure and diabetes. There are multiple studies that tie diet to heart disease  and colon cancer, among other things. So what is your health worth to you?

What I’m saying is that if you could prevent having to take these medications and treatments, would you? And how much is it worth to you? Make smart choices, do your research and have fun with it. Food should be delicious, and preparing and eating it should be an enjoyable pastime shared with family and friends- after all it is a huge part of many people’s history. So try different recipes, experiment, do things from scratch. You know, like we used to do before chemicals. Change from a meat based diet to a vegetable based diet that has meat as a side dish. You  will be amazed by how much lighter and more energetic you feel, your skin and hair will improve, (not to mention your “regularity”) and the money you will save on all that meat will more than pay for the vegetables. Yesterday I saw a Ribeye steak at the store and they wanted 13$ for one steak. I could feed a family of four on that with healthy food.

Don’t forget to eat your carbs! Carbs are important for your body and your mind. Yes , your mind.

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your brain needs carbs to function so don’t go cutting carbs out of your diet. Just make sure they are healthy carbs.

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Fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and nutrients so in the beginning I would say indulge, you have some catching up to do. Remember food is fuel so just like your car only give your body the best fuel you can and don’t overfill your tank.

One of my favorite recipes is for Brussel sprouts

Shred two cups of sprouts very thin

Sautee sprouts with 2tsp of olive oil

1tsp of chopped garlic and salt and pepper to taste’

Cook on medium heat till soft.

this will make a nice side dish and can compliment anything.

Getting Caught Cheating on Social Media.

This is probably the most important article I have ever written for two reasons. First, it is a way to make right some of the pain I have caused my wife, and second to keep someone else from making this horrible mistake. About a year ago I began investing my time into building an online presence. I wanted to see if I could make money by creating a web sight and building  a following on different social media sites. I even began this blog as a way to communicate ideas and pass on information for people of my age group who have a like minded approach to life. What happened was never wanted or planned for.

When I began to connect online with people on Face-book, Instagram, and especially Twitter, some of these people were helpful and supportive, but there was a darker side of social media that I became involved with that I didn’t plan on and never saw coming. I became involved in several inappropriate online relationships that I now realize were toxic to me and extremely destructive to my marriage. I began to resent the people close to me and to turn instead  to those online presences were I could get constant validation  and adoration. I began to build a following of people, especially women, who would always praise and admire me, and  I could block anyone  I felt wasn’t contributing  to my daily dose of flattery. It was like a drug, having my ego stroked on an almost daily basis. I gave and received approval and acceptance of my stupidity and hubris. I can see why people become addicted to social media and why society puts so much time and effort into it. But beware-the social networks are not reality. Reality is most likely sitting next to you being ignored while you spend hours on Face-book and Twitter. I ignored and lied to my wife for months while flirting and having inappropriate relationshops with other women. I even went so far as to publicly post hateful and untrue things about my wife to complete strangers to garner sympathy and attention. For this I am truly sorry.  I was addicted to social media and I was willing to ignore and hurt my family to garner attention from celebrities and strangers.

Was this reality?  Of course not! Those people’s beliefs and likes or dislikes have absolutely nothing to do with whether or not someone’s personal relationships are healthy. In fact, I would venture to say that our fascination with the trivial and mundane actions and opinions of the social elite, or any perfect stranger, is counter-productive to a healthy psychological existence.

There is another side of social media that I would like to address. There are people that treat the internet as their personal playground for having on-line affairs, and it is all too easy to become involved in this type of behavior. It can begin with an innocent comment or joke and quickly denigrate into what can only be described as emotional cheating. Even if you don’t ever act upon it, the fact that you are willing to go to someone other than your spouse for comfort, support and affection is cheating. I was guilty of this behavior, and I am extremely lucky to have a wife that has forgiven my online indiscretions and lack of good judgement, and given me a second chance. Realize that anything you put on the internet has the ability to affect the lives of so many around you, including people you will never meet. The pain it can cause can be immense and irreversible.

There is an old story of a mother who brings her son to a priest because he continues to use foul language and say mean things to others, and she doesn’t know what to do. The Priest thinks for a moment, goes to retrieve a feather pillow, and gives it to the boy. He then instructs the boy to go outside, rip open the pillow and throw the feathers to the wind. When the boy has finished, he goes back into the church, to the Priest and his Mother. The Priest then asks the boy if he has done as he asked, to which he replies “yes!” with a big grin. The Priest then instructs the boy to go retrieve the feathers and put them back into the pillow. The smile quickly leaves the child’s face and is replaced by a look of fear. The Priest asks what is the matter, to which the boy replies “That’s impossible! The feathers are everywhere, scattered in the wind!” The Priest smiles and says “Exactly, Just like words”. The Priest goes on to explain that words are just like feathers, once released into the wind they can never be retrieved. So be careful with the words you release upon the world, they can never be retrieved, and their damage can likely never be undone.

I was reminded of this story when I watched the anguish and pain on the face of someone I love very much ( My Wife) as she read some of the things I had posted on social media. I can never take those things back, all I can do is apologize for my actions and ask  forgiveness…although  I don’t think that most of the people who are self proclaimed kings and queens of social media will ever feel the need to do that. But you know what- I’ll never know. You see, I have deleted all of my social media accounts and began a new life where I spend my free time with the loved ones who mean everything to me, and very little time (meaning none) paying attention to social media.

Core Training and Martial Arts

I have been training in Martial Arts for about five years in Uechi Ryu or Pang Gai Noon. This is not considered a popular style in the United States probably for the fact that it is a traditional style that requires body conditioning that probably looks a little insane to the average person. Uechi Ryu  requires receiving body shots (lets face it,in a fight nobody gets away without taking a hit) and then moving into attacks. For this reason a type of Iron Shirt Kung Fu, or Iron Body, Depending on your history, is practiced. This practice means that there is a lot of focus on core strength. This focus is essential in the ability to refocus the attack back to the attacker. (See Qi Gong)

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The reason I’m writing this is My beautiful wife has lost her mind and decided to start training in Uechi Ryu also. Before she begins her training next week, she asked me about a month ago if there was anything she could do to get ready for training and the only thing I said was core strength and diet. So she began a light training regimen of crunches and leg lifts to help build her core muscles and a diet high in vegetables and a small amount of meat protein to build muscle and lose fat around her abdomen. Immediately she saw results in weight loss and core strength. Two weeks into the program she had lost 15 Lbs. and had increased her core workout to include a variety of exercises that included her arms, shoulders and legs. Over the last several weeks I introduced her to the heavy bag hanging in the garage.

heavy bag 2.JPGShe took to it like a fish to water and enjoyed hitting the bag with a combination of kicks and punches. The work out on the bag is intense and although it only lasts for fifteen minutes it will leave you drenched in sweat. Over the next few weeks she combined her core exercises  with the bag work and lost an additional 10 lbs, hit her goal weight, and you can now see her abs.

I know the bi weekly work outs will be tough but when I started I didn’t prepare and the first six months were an ass kicking experience. Hopefully the preparation my wife has done will make it easier for her in the beginning. If you are considering a new exercise regimen make sure you set realistic goals-nothing will  keep you from moving forward faster than setting unrealistic goals. Remember, it will take time. Patience and focus will carry you through the times when you feel like you aren’t making progress. Trust me, when you start to see a difference in the way your clothes fit, it will help drive you forward. Treat yourself to a gift when you reach your goals. I find new clothes are a great gift-enjoy your new self and keep your passion alive.  And remember, all the exercise will not do anything for you if you don’t change your diet. Diet is 80% of the equation! Please read my articles on proper diet.

 

Foot Care

I don’t know about you, but I refuse to be one of those old men wearing black socks and sandals

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I don’t know when this became a thing, but this is a fashion I will never accept. Summer is coming and lets face it as men we rarely think about foot care. Your feet say something about who you are. Now, I’m not saying go get a pedicure, but lets clean them up and show them off. Having well groomed feet in sandals is something you should never be ashamed of. With a little care and “Trimming” you can escape from this horrible look. You wouldn’t walk around with a bad hair cut, or wear a shirt with food stains all over it so why are we so willing to do this to our feet.

Most of use don’t even have to look any further than our wives or girlfriends for the tools we need. But, if they are not willing to share, or you are embarrassed to ask, you can purchase a kit for about twenty dollars. Beware your kit will be ransacked by your female partner in a heart beat so make sure and hide it well.

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men’s tool kit for feet and nails

I take good care of my feet because I do martial arts and I keep my toenails well groomed so that I don’t injure someone unintentionally. I also have callouses on my feet that protect them while doing martial arts that will shred bed sheets so I have to wear sport socks at night so that my wife won’t kill me in my sleep. If you have calluses you might consider using a callus removal tool. Just be careful and go easy, you don’t want to remove to much the first time out, the result can be painful. Ask for help you might be shocked at how long your partner has been waiting to do this for you.

I could post pictures of ugly feet, but I just ate breakfast and I’d like to keep it down. I will post a picture of healthy feet, that are well groomed.

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Imagine having feet that you can show off this summer. You will also notice that your feet will feel better at the end of the day. I work on my feet, sometimes twelve hours straight and having well groomed feet makes a difference at the end of the day. You wouldn’t buy cheap shoes to go with a suit, so when enjoying a day at the beach or park with your family why would you wear ugly feet. Believe me this will make a difference in how you view yourself. Everything you do to improve your self view will improve your journey to better health and quality of life. Your significant other will appreciate the effort too, showing that you care how you look will make a difference in how others perceive you. One of the most attractive qualities in a man, according to women, is self confidence, so be confident in every aspect of yourself.

Skin Care For Men Over Fifty.

I would like to address some thing most men ignore. You are watching your diet, exercising, but you, like most of use, have totally ignored your skin health. Your skin is not only the largest organ on your body, but it will tell you what you are doing wrong. If you are not drinking enough water, your skin will look dry. If you are lacking certain vitamins in your diet, your skin will tell you. If you are ignoring your skin you are ignoring your health. I know we have all been told that you shouldn’t go out in the sun without sun block, (didn’t hear that when we were kids). This will help to keep any further damage from occurring, and don’t just pick any one, go for max protection. A daily regimen is important also. I have been testing several products over the last three months and can make some recommendations.

If you are exercising then you are showering more than the normal person (I hope) and most of us think, “We are men we use soap!” well yes we do but you don’t have to use any soap. Nivea makes a range of products for men that are not that much more expensive than plain old soap. Nivea Men Pure Impact 3-1 body wash is great.

download (1) I have tried a couple of different body wash products but this is great. Nice fresh scent without any heavy perfumes, and it leaves your skin clean without feeling oily. Nivea Men original Moisturizing Face Wash is my favorite product

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Every morning and every night before bed I use this to wash my face it leaves my face feeling clean without feeling tight, I follow this up with Nivea Men protective lotion to keep my skin protected from excessive drying and damage throughout the day. There are other products out there but from the ones I’ve tried these have given me amazing results. My skin has become much younger looking and the wrinkles around my eyes and ears and the sun spots on my cheeks were beginning to fade. Try a few things see what works best for you, these are only recommendations. Remember the most important thing you can do for your skin is drink water followed by a well balanced diet. The more vegetables you add into your diet the more your skin will improve. If you are losing a lot of weight keeping your skin as supple as possible will help to keep the skin sag to a minimum. No one wants to look like a Turkey Necked Basset Hound. Remember there are no quick fixes anything that is worth while will take effort, commitment, and time.

Back and neck pain.

I have touched on my struggle with back and neck pain and I am ready to say “I am pain free”. Yes I am pain free for the first time in 30 years. For the last three years I have been working towards a goal of pain free, medicine free health. Well I was able to achieve a success in some measure due to a very simple belief that my body could repair itself to some degree if given the proper care and nutrients. Now there isn’t any easy path, or quick fix, or miracle drug. They don’t exist! The real key is steady growth and constant care of your body and mind to achieve your optimum capacity for health. Some of you have read my post on back pain and exercises to alleviate some of the pain. I have also touched on the importance of diet in the equation for better health, also you have to stay positive mentally with your goal always in sight,  and the final ingredient is staying active.  You have to stay moving in a positive direction as much as possible.

In this article I am going to touch on a little bit of each aspect. I am going to go old school and quote a little Hippocrates.

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Excess in any aspect of your life is never a good thing. To achieve my goals I had to remove anything that was taking to much of my life and find a balance. I also had to address the issue of food and nutrients. A well balanced diet is the key to giving your body the nutrients it needs to repair itself. Don’t waste your money on some nutrient rich supplement when you can actually eat food that is good for you and lose weight at the same time.

Exercise: I have talked about finding an activity that will keep you active and flexible for about four hours a week. I chose Martial Arts, but Yoga, Dance, anything that will keep you moving and active is a plus.

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Focused exercises on the area of injury are also a must. You have to work the area of damage in order to activate the bodies repair mechanism and build a stronger guard against further damage.

Keeping a positive attitude during this process is as important as diet and exercise. When you are stressed and depressed your body doesn’t produce the proper amount of chemicals to allow for nutrient absorption and muscle growth. Something as simple as just saying to yourself ” You can do this” is all it takes. Seems pretty easy, but can be the most difficult hurdle. See “Happiness and Letting Go”

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It sounds strange but sometimes we can create or own disease. Yes through stress and poor lifestyle choices we can make ourselves physically ill. Make the choice to live a healthier happier life and you will find yourself making good positive choices and  living a pain free, drug free future like me.

 

The Human Touch

Since the time of birth, we as a species crave human contact. There have been extensive studies done with primates that prove the need for physical contact.Without contact these primates exhibit anti social behavior. Symptoms of anxiety, were reclusive and exhibited social deficits. The primates that were raised with a mother but no playmates exhibited fear and aggressive behavior. (See Dr. Harry Harlow Rhesus Macaques.)

These studies have been the cornerstone for psychological development studies in children raised in situations were their early development and lack of attachment have been a direct source of aggressive, anti social and in some cases violent behavior. You can disagree with the analysis of these scientists but I am going to carry it a step further. I believe this carries on into every age in growth and development.

Have any of you ever met someone that exclaims “I don’t like to be touched” I know I have met several people that have made this statement. and I have noticed they have the same character traits as the subjects in these studies. Almost to the person they claim to be loners because they like it that way. Or they don’t have any personal relationships because they “Can’t relate to people”, or they “don’t work well with others”. This type of behavior is in my opinion anti social and can be dangerous.  The last person I met that made these types of claims attacked his room mate with a hatchet and shot himself in the head. He was 27. I also believe that boys raised in a home with a strong matriarch and no strong positive male role models have a predisposition towards misogynistic tendencies. I remember talking to the Rev. Cecil Murray who at the time was the leader of the First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles just before to the Riots in L.A. and he hypothesized that the downfall for young black youth in America was the lack of interaction with positive role models for  young men in the African American community. murray217

At the time I believed he was on to something and I still do, but I think there is another part of the equation. I believe that a nurturing home can break this cycle of distrust and violence. I know, the old “Nature verses Nurture argument”, and yes there are people that are just born with a chemical and developmental deficiency in the brain that will cause violence and negative behavior. But that is another argument for another time.

I am going to put forth the hypothesis that continued separation from loving human contact into adulthood can cause even more issues. Failed relationships, depression, addiction, and violence. As a parent this is a concern, as it should be , that my child not fall into this downward spiral, and take out his anger on society. It has become almost a punchline about the twenty something that lives in his parents basement with no friends and trolls the internet all day and night. Or the comic book aficionado that pours over his books all day and night and only converses with others on subjects like Batman vs Superman. The ability of these people to become reclusive and given access to huge volumes of information and like minded people has given rise to a new type of social outcast with violent tendencies.

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Now lets throw access to deadly weapons into the equation and you have a recipe for a deadly killer who doesn’t consider other people as important or even human in some cases. You can see where this is going. Can you imagine what happens when these armed sociopaths are let loose on society. most of us don’t have to, we have all seen it play out on the news over and over. The only thing that I can come up with that is even a viable solution, is to put yourself out there and make a difference when you can. We cannot afford to sit on the side lines and watch the slaughter of the innocent. Right now it seems to affect males more than females, but those lines are starting to blur, and I’m beginning to see young women showing these same signs as the gender barriers are becoming less and less. You can’t expect the Government to help. They have proven that, with their funding cuts in mental health care. The schools don’t have the necessary funding to address this serious issue, even though they are the unfortunate battle ground for most of this violence. It will fall on each and every one of us to make the difference.

‘What can I do?” well, that’s a lot  easier than you think. If you know someone that is suffering, show them kindness, let them know you are there for them, “No Matter What”. pull them out of their shell. It is hard work but well worth it. If you can show one person that suffers that they are not alone and that they matter you could save lives. It will take patience and compassion to make a difference, but this has to happen. I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch this tragedy play out and I am challenging any one who reads this to try and make a difference. All it takes is a “Human Touch”

For You Kelly, I wish now, I had done more.

It Works If You Work It.

This is going to be short and sweet. My name is Don and I’m an alcoholic. Back when I first got sober those words held so much power over me. I was a mess, my life was in upheaval and I was 42 years old. I started thinking recently why I started drinking in the first place. Self esteem seems to be the number one reason I started drinking. You see I had no self esteem for many reasons. Alcohol allowed me to open up and release the person inside I wanted to be. having spent the last ten years going to meetings and listening to others, I realized that this is the reason most people start drinking. They don’t like who they are and alcohol allows them to be someone else. That is of course until it stops working and they become that drunken mess we all know and love. Now some of you might be wondering why I would write about this on a blog about turning fifty. Well there are some of us, Even at fifty that struggle with substance abuse. Just know this ” It’s never to late to say no more”, to spend more time with the ones you love with out the drinking. You will find you will argue less and smile more. Remember this they love you as an alcoholic, or addict, and they will love you even more as a better version of you. This isn’t about change, this is about being a better version of the person you already are.

I know there are some of you saying ” I only have a glass of wine when I get home from work” my question is Why? there are better ways to decompress. and have you ever felt irritated when you don’t get a glass of wine. Or thought ” Man, I could really use a drink.” these are all excuses to drink. I’m not trying to get people to stop, My issues are not your issues. I’m just asking that every once in a while instead of the drink spend some time hugging your family. You will get the same good feeling as the glass of wine and your body will thank you. Your family might think you lost your mind but you will feel so much better afterwards it will be worth it. If Anyone would like to get sober please contact me through this blog and I would be honored to take the time to be of service to you and get you in touch with the people that can change your life. Hugs to all that struggle, and all my love to those that struggle with them.

Self Realization and Fulfillment

I have found in my life that many times I have changed paths of attaining happiness. Some paths were spiritual, Some were physical, and some were mental. The problem I had in my youth was the fact that I listened to the people that had different views of what was important to them. This however was not what was important to me. The “Question” then becomes what is important to you? Well…. I thought, when I was younger, that career was important, but that can be confusing when you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up. (not sure I’m there yet) I spent my youth going from One job to another, and college was a waste of time for the most part. Colleges need to streamline their curriculum to only include the courses you need to get your degree and quit adding bullshit courses that have nothing to do with your area of learning. Its just a waste of time and money.

As I got older money , I was told was the most important thing, and the ability to acquire money was the path to happiness. In my search for the almighty dollar I meet a lot of like minded people and came to the realization that I wasn’t happy and I was constantly stressed and the people I met weren’t happy either. As I got older most of these people are now trading in their wealth to try to regain their health and happiness. Seems a little backward to me, trading your youth and health for money that you will then use to pay to try to heal all the medical problems you got from the stress and long hours you had to give to attain your money. Does anyone else see the problem with this, or is it just me? On a side note I always found this study interesting. This is a chart of diminishing return for money spent vs. happiness

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As I got older and got married, started a family, I realized I was spending less and less time with my family and more and more time at work. This was not the family model I wanted for myself or them. Growing up in a family were my father worked a lot and was gone for days at a time I remembered what that was like. I would have gladly given up all the nice things we had for a better relationship with my father. With both parents working it becomes even harder for a child to have a healthy relationship as they grow when all they see growing up is two parents chasing their careers and fighting over money when they were home at the same time. I didn’t want that as my son got older than four so my wife and I talked about it and came to the conclusion that we would choose happiness over wealth.

Now that being said I am not suggesting anyone live in poverty, no what I’m suggesting is scale back your life style, cut out the extras that don’t mean anything to you. Spend more time with the ones you love and build strong positive relationships with the ones you love. By doing this we discovered that we could cut back our hours at work by almost half. This is huge! My wife was able to cut back to only 20 hrs a week from forty plus and I could cut back to forty five hours a week from my usual seventy two hrs a week. We still had more than enough money to pay the bills and money for retirement and vacations. Our marriage was stronger and we had more time to spend with our son.

Now I want to touch on the spiritual side of my journey. I was raised an Irish Catholic and consider myself recovering Catholic now. I realized at a very young age that there might be more than one answer when it came to spiritual happiness. So I embarked on a journey of self discovery of spiritual realization. And yes I dabbled in mind altering psychedelics in the seventies. I lived in the Haight- Ashbury district in San Francisco for a while I dabbled in other religions and beliefs, and ended my journey realizing that everything I needed was within me. I settled on Buddhism as a belief system because through the years I saw that life gives you back what you put into it. I wanted to have a happy, positive existence so I figured I had to put happy, positive thoughts and actions into my life. Buddhism seems to be the closest thing to this belief system. So when someone asks I simply say Buddhist and wait for the look of disbelief on their face. I’m not going to get all warm and fuzzy here I just wanted to explain my position.

My physical journey began when I started buying slip on shoes so I didn’t have to bend over to tie my shoes. Some times something so small can be the trigger you need to make a life changing decision. I made the decision to try to reverse the damage I had done trying to attain some imaginary dollar amount before it became a medical issue. I embarked upon a journey of physical health through proper diet and exercise. I also found a sort of spiritual peace through this fitness program centered around Martial Arts.

Now, lets pull all this together into something that makes sense. Three things had to happen for this to work.

  1. Focus on whats really important to you. Family, relationships, etc.
  2. find a spiritual belief system that works for you.
  3. Make a commitment to take care of yourself through a proper diet and exercise.

You will find if you can pull these things together you will have a life filled with love and possibility. You will also have time to pursue your passions what ever they may be. You stress levels will go way down, you wont try to control every aspect of your life and the lives of the people around you. Also you will have time to give to others that need your help because for what ever reason their life is out of balance. There is no greater joy in life than being of service to others. So live your life with purpose and joy and it will positively affect everyone around you.

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